As one reviews the modern history of marijuana policy in this country, beginning with the adoption of federal marijuana prohibition in 1937 (i.e., the Marijuana Tax Act) and continuing to where we are today with 33 states having legalized the medical use of marijuana and 11 states and the District of Columbia having legalized adult recreational use, perhaps the single most important step along the way was the report issued in 1972 by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse.
On NORML’s 50th anniversary, NORML’s Founder Keith Stroup reflects back on a lifetime as America’s foremost marijuana smoker and legalization advocate. This is the first in a series of blogs on the history of NORML and the legalization movement covering the founding of NORML itself.
I want to take the opportunity today to personally thank you for being a marijuana policy reform supporter. Whether you are new to the cause or an old hand like myself, we at NORML both appreciate and rely upon your continued support.
The individual most responsible for the medical marijuana movement in CA, and eventually in more than 30 states across this country, was San Francisco gay rights and marijuana advocate Dennis Peron, who died this past weekend from lung cancer at age 71.
Hugh Hefner, or “Hef” as he preferred to be called, played a crucial role in the early days of NORML. At a time when most Americans were accepting the government’s “reefer madness” propaganda, Hef, through the Playboy Foundation, provided NORML with our initial funding in early 1971, and became our primary funder all during the 1970s. And by focusing attention in Playboy magazine on some of the most egregious victims of the war against marijuana smokers, he helped us convince millions of Americans that marijuana prohibition was a misguided and destructive public policy.
Hefner was a fearless cultural crusader who believed deeply not just in the right to sexual freedom, but also in civil rights and the right to privacy. May he rest in peace.
The high court found that the prosecutor did not have the legal authority to hire his own people to drive up and down the highways, making traffic stops and searching vehicles for drugs.
As long as there are new legal arguments to be made, and fresh and hopefully more convincing facts to be argued, we must continue to engage the courts in this struggle for personal freedom.
Most importantly for the legalization movement nationwide, the appeals court rejected the argument raised by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma that Amendment 64 in Colorado, the voter initiative that legalized and regulated the adult use of marijuana, was preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act.